Zen, Alzheimer's, and Love

Zen, Alzheimer's, and Love

A story of enduring love between two authors with a deep interest in poetry, Beat literature, Zen, art and music, and includes poems and passages written during the heartrending experience of Alzheimer's, care-giving, and death.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018



when I’m missing you
I look up at the full moon
bringing your love


My husband of 38 years died in the summer of 2015, a year after we returned to Portland from NY.  He was suffering from the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  A dedicated writer and lover of literature, poetry and jazz, he never stopped writing even to the end when he left me the words: “wife just let go,” on a discarded envelope. His words were barely legible but I recognized them. Those words became the title of our book together that's featured in this blog.  

Although his death occurred more than two years ago, it still feels as recent as this past winter when leaves left their trees and bushes bare again.  The loss is still raw.  I am told that when a dear one departs they leave a hole in your heart. So true, and there’s nothing to fill this unique hole that’s called by his name.  He promised he’d “always” love me no matter what. I count on that promise.  I guess I’ll always be counting on it.

And there’s the love of friends who showed up with tremendous support when he died, and still show up.  Such a treasure they are. They know that long after the funeral there’s still the lingering grief. They bless me with genuine love offerings of all kinds and companionship for which there's no end to my gratitude.

But he’s still missing and there’s still that hole in my heart. I’m told that time will heal the pain of grief and at some point it will come to an end. But the grief inside of me hasn’t lessened. It’s acute as ever and, at times, unbearable as the first weeks of his death.  No, grief has no time constraints. It’s never over.  It becomes a close companion. Heightened in moments unexpected, when something, a word, a song, a photo, reminds you of their absence and brings an instant emotional tug at the heart-mind.

I have to remind myself it's okay to feel this and that in this emotional way of grief, I'm expressing a profound love that never dies. And, in the end, it is “love” that soothes the aching heart. Love is a word that can never be exhausted. Even Einstein admitted about the “Universal Force which is Love” in a letter to his daughter.

Yes, the greatest force ever and priceless of all gifts is love. 

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